Professional Licensure, Organizational Behavior, and the Public Interest

This paper analyzes the close nexus between professional associations and the process of state licensure. Licensure is viewed as an extension of the concern for self-regulation that characterizes professionalism. Notwithstanding the important mission of protecting the health and safety of the public, in many cases, licensure has provided a means of according status and recognition to a body of specialized knowledge, resulting in a “state-protected environment” wherein the profession is virtually autonomous. Several recent proposals that may have far-reaching impact on the natural insularity of licensing boards are critically discussed. These include public representation, reorganization of boards, institutional licensure, and jointly promulgated regulations. In the context of a growing demand for greater public accountability and responsiveness in the credentialing of health manpower, these proposals may be of pivotal importance if innovative developments in the utilization and distribution of manpower are to be realized.

Author(s): Harris S. Cohen

Download the Article

Read on JSTOR

Volume 51, Issue 1 (pages 73–88)
Published in 1973